London-based Moley Robotics demonstrate their 'robot chef' that uses two complex, fully articulated robotic hands to prepare meals with all the flair of a master chef. Joel Flynn reports.
Imagine a world where you come home from a long day at work to a Michelin-starred meal, ready for you as you open the front door. It might sound far-fetched but this fictional future isn't as far away as you think. Moley Robotics is the company behind the electronic cook. Using the recipe from chef Tim Anderson, they've mapped the exact movements he uses to make a crab bisque. Recording him using 3D cameras, the robochef now replicates those exact movements - every single time. SOUNDBITE: Chef, Tim Andersen, saying (English): "If it can really mimic my hands and any chef's hands, then with some work on it there's no reason it can't do just about anything. Kneading bread, making sushi, all these things that are very hands on, for lack of a better term." The secret to robochef's dexterity belongs to East London's Shadow Robot Company. For the last few decades they've been perfecting their robotic hand, now used in nuclear industry and being studied by NASA. It's designed to look human as well. And that, says Moley Robotics founder Mark Oleynik, is as important as any bit of wiring. SOUNDBITE: Moley Robotics founder and inventor, Mark Oleynik, saying (English): "This is our target point, to make it human. Everything that people create they create by hand, so this is a key point to how people transfer their human intelligence." If the hands can be taught to cook, according to experts here, there's no reason they couldn't play the piano, learn carpentery and more. In the meantime this could be the cook book of the future - downloading complex recipes for your kitchen robot, like songs from iTunes. Serving up a reminder of the blurring lines between man and machine.